Robot 6

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Route 666 revivals ‘shelved’ by Marvel

More than three months after Marvel said it was merely delaying the debuts of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Route 666, Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed this morning that the planned revivals of the CrossGen titles “have been shelved for the time being.”

Announced in August at FanExpo Canada, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Route 666 were set to join recent revivals of Ruse, Sigil and Mystic in December and February, respectively, under Marvel’s fledgling CrossGen imprint. Buoyed by nostalgia for the defunct publisher, Ruse and Sigil had solid enough debuts, selling an estimated 28,500 copies each in February 2011. But by their conclusions in June, sales of Ruse had plummeted to about 10,500 copies, and Sigil to 8,900. Mystic‘s August premiere was considerably weaker, moving around 18,800 copies. By October’s Issue 3, that figure had tumbled to about 6,000, suggesting nostalgia only goes so far.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated Peter Nguyen, Route 666 was to re-imagine the CrossGen horror series, transplanting protagonist Cassie Starkweather to the 1950s, where she was a deputy to U.S. Marshal Evan Cisco. Likewise, writer Peter Milligan and artist Roman Rosanas put a new spin on the Mike Perkins-Tony Bedard espionage comic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, with a young agent ordered by MI6 to assume the role of super-spy Charles Kiss.

(via Blog@Newsarama)



Too bad, as these were the CrossGen revivals I was really looking forward to as far as the talent goes. It was nice to see Marvel show some initiative with the line (three titles is nothing to sneeze at), but who can blame them for giving up (for the time being) with those kind of figures. The nice thing about the way they restarted this line is that they can push out a series at any time without there being a loss of shared readers, since this no longer seems to be a shared universe.

Well this was pretty much a no-brainer when Marvel never announced official release dates. It’s really disappointing that readers didn’t really give the Crossgen relaunch much of a chance. Mystic was great.

I had no idea Peter Milligan was writing KISS KISS. I would have checked that out.

This really was the perfect storm of ineptitude. By using the concepts and titles of the old line it told newer readers to not to bother unless you had some fond memories of the old books. And at the same time doing almost complete reboots of of all the concepts and titles it told older readers (like me) that it wasn’t the books you had fond memories of so don’t bother.

Eric Qel-Droma

March 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

What Joe said. I want the end of the original KKBB, not someone else’s take on how it could have been started.

Sad news. I was looking forward to this for Peter Nguyen’s art alone.

Mystic was the best thing Marvel published all year, so this is disappointing.

Marvel desperately needs to diversify their output portfolio– they need other active genres, like non-superhero based sci-fi, horror, action, mystery, fantasy, and more. They need to be recruiting authors and artists from a wide variety of entertainment and literature fields. By canceling projects before they come out, Marvel is effectively creating its own self-fulfilling prophecy regarding non-superhero products.

With Marvel now focusing even more on their proven franchise books, I guess this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Still, disappointing.

I was looking forward to a return of El Cazador – this probably bodes ill for that.


Mystic was *so* goo, I desperately wanted to see more. Ruse and sigil were definitely disappointments though.

It’s either the original continued or nothing at all.

No reboots!

Chalk this up to another case of Marvel can’t win.


I think you’re absolutely wrong, at least as far as new readers are concerned. A fresh start is what got me to take notice of the Crossgen line, and the quality of the book I did read hooked me enough to keep my eyes peeled for any new Crossgen books.


Except Marvel actually tried something different, it failed horribly. Last year they tried quite a few new things, but without fail they all sold poorly. Sometimes Marvel just can’t win with readers.

I’m with Joe about Marvel’s attitude towards old readers. I can totally understand Marvel not wanting to publish another interconnected universe besides their main books; however, and I don’t think we are alone in this, I would have loved to see the conclusion of the old stories, specially Negation War.

How many former Crossgen readers wouldn’t like to know how that ended?

Maybe someday, *sigh*. In the meantime, how about some digital releases of the old stuff, Marvel?

If Marvel continued the old series, saying “This picks up where that left off” then they’d probably get, what, half the readers of the last issue from each series? That sounds like jumping head-first into failure.

Just a thought after reading Ian’s post: I wonder how things would have gone if Marvel had published trades of the old stuff while at the same time putting out a couple minis taking place in the same storylines/timelines that could be enjoyed by new readers (ie-prequels and side stories), until they’re all caught up with the trades? Dunno…

Disappointing news that doesn’t bode well for a Mystic follow up. Not that sales were any good in the first place. Maybe Marvel can shift the Crossgen books over to the digital side, and see how they get a response there. Gotta be more cost efficient that way too.

Why not just take these properties, apply part of the old Epic model and release them once completed as OGNs? Something akin to what they do in the European graphic album market? Why rely on monthly sales, which will inherently be low due to a lack of an X, Spider, or claw popping mutant on the cover?

I agree with the last few posts.

A few ideas :

Charge more for these issues that are catering to a hardcore audience that wants to see the conclusions from the originals years ago ? I didn’t follow CG, but if I could get endings to some series, like The Great Ten or The Shadow, where it never wrapped up, I’d jump at it and be willing to pay more to have it wrap properly.

Taking it a step further, collect the old and add the new and put it together as a collected package.


March 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I was waiting for trades of any Crossgen stuff that interested me. It was really the only efficient way for me to read a bunch of 4 issue mini-series. Especially when DCBS put them on a really good discount.

Did they release any trades other than Ruse or Sigil? How were those numbers? Did they try to push sales of the TPBs?

I really think Marvel dropped the ball by stirring away from the Crossgen books NOT being in one big shared universe idea.

I get that they were obviously aiming at the book store crowd, but the idea that it was all connected didn’t have to be as convoluted as the original supergods creating multiverse with a massive villain working to destroy everything. It could have been as simple as certain people or symbols appearing in brief cameos and potentially dropping hints like Lost, Fringe and other things that may or may not later be used.

Hopefully, the experiment doesn’t completely sour Marvel on coming back to the Crossgen universes as there are some diamonds that could truely just use a little polish if handled correctly.

Eric Qel-Droma

March 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

“Just” finishing the old stuff wouldn’t have worked either, I admit. Just put all the old stuff online. Publish an online exclusive conclusion to the old stuff the week before the new stuff comes out. Then start a new storyline based in the old continuity, subtly altering or ignoring the shared-universe parts that wouldn’t work now. For Ruse, KKBB, and El Cazador, that wouldn’t be very difficult at all.

The new, reader-friendly storylines could bring in new readers, and the connection to the old single-book continuities would bring in the old readers. The “start all over” approach turned this huge CrossGen fan off.

Or, piggybacking off of EQ-D’s idea, doing something similar to what Kesel and Grummett are doing with Section Zero.

Well, Crossgen could’ve been for Marvel what Vertigo is for DC. Somehow Marvel doesn’t manage to produce and publish more comics/graphic novels for grown ups.

Chris Schillig

March 8, 2012 at 2:46 am

I really, really liked the original ROUTE 666, and I would have checked out the reboot. A shame.

Only 5 issues of KISS KISS BANG BANG saw print. The 6th and final issue was written, penciled, inked and lettered. All Marvel has to do is color it and they have a TPB ready to print with practically no production costs. Wouldn’t it have been great to have a KKBB trade with new material, telling the whole story?

Ari (Kylun123)

March 8, 2012 at 9:41 am

@Cuda B

I disagree. I don’t think it’s a lose-lose situation for Marvel, I just don’t believe the market they created can sustain titles outside their Big 3 franchises.

They’ve chosen to just create more of them and at a higher price and have them come out more often. Certainly the readers can’t afford to try out new stuff to the same extent, they’re already committed and being squeezed for those titles.

Scott Rowland

March 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

@Tony Bedard: Oh man! Really? That hurts — get on the ball Marvel!

I don’t begrudge Marvel doing a reboot of the Crossgen properties, but they really should have stuck with the Crossgen veteran creative staff. I’d love to be buying a regular Ruse series by Waid, or Meridian series by Barbara Randall Kesel, or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Tony Bedard and Mike Perkins.

And, Tony? I really enjoyed KKBB, Route 666, and Negation. For that matter, I quite enjoyed REBELS, too. Thanks for writing some enjoyable comics!

@Scott Rowland: Marvel’s Ruse mini-series WAS by Waid. (So much for the “stuck with the Crossgen veteran creative staff” comment–unless you also expected Guice to do the interior art.)

@JosephW: You’re right. I did know that (having purchased and enjoyed the Ruse mini), but didn’t have time to edit my comment. I do note that it sold better than the other minis, albeit not well enough to warrant continuation. I do think that Marvel might have done better by marrying creator continuity (primarily writers IMO — in my opinion, Crossgen had great art, but what made it special was the quality of the writing and it would be tougher to get Guice or Epting to do an extra monthly than it would Waid or Radall or Bedard) for the existing fans and a reboot to attract newer fans. Oh well.

Still hoping to read that last issue of KKBB, even in black in white. . . .

Tony: KKBB was such a phenomenal title, I wish you would be back on it!

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